Writing something worth reading is a challenge. In my job I have to write all the time through emails. It becomes a challenge to communicate intent, purpose, direction, etc. solely through written words, especially if it is a difficult subject. You have to make the email as concise as possible while providing all the pertinant information. The real challenge lies in making the email easy to understand, interesting/short enough for the reader to get through it, and then getting the response needed based on that email. At least in a face to face conversation, you can tell whether a person is getting your message by their body language. With an email, it is pretty difficult. You send it, hoping the message was received and actually read.
I don’t know if anyone else suffers from reading and re-reading emails trying to determine if that is the right “tone” you want to convey in the message. Sometimes I ask myself if I’m coming off sounding as a jerk. Email can be fairly impersonable sometimes. It is hard to convey humor or sarcasm through an email. Sometimes to make sure an individual understands I’m joking I’ll use an emoticon such as :). However, this may detract from the message or professionalism of the email, but it seems one way to ensure the other person knows you are trying to be humorous. I constantly ask myself before I hit send, is this the right message and tone I want the reader to get from the email I’m sending. If not, I will re-write it.
I’ve known many leaders/people who hide behind emails. They will send a scathing email out, but won’t personally talk to the people they are sending it to. In my opinion, this is a problem. A person shouldn’t communicate differently through an online medium than they would in a face to face conversation. I personally don’t like using email to communicate with people. I would rather talk on the phone or in person. However, in a large organization this isn’t always the case. I have to ensure that the words I write in an email are taken as I intend them to be taken.